Aflatoxin B1 (AFB) epoxide forms an unstable N7 guanine adduct in DNA. The adduct undergoes base-catalyzed ring opening to give a highly persistent formamidopyrimidine (FAPY) adduct which exists as a mixture of forms. Acid hydrolysis of the FAPY adduct gives the FAPY base which exists in two separable but interconvertible forms that have been assigned by various workers as functional, positional, or conformational isomers. Recently, this structural question became important when one of the two major FAPY species in DNA was found to be potently mutagenic and the other a block to replication [Smela, M. E.; Hamm, M. L.; Henderson, P. T.; Harris, C. M.; Harris, T. M.; Essigmann, J. M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2002, 99, 6655-6660]. NMR studies carried out on the AFB-FAPY bases and deoxynucleoside 3',5'-dibutyrates now establish that the separable FAPY bases and nucleosides are diastereomeric N5 formyl derivatives involving axial asymmetry around the congested pyrimidine C5-N5 bond. Anomerization of the protected beta-deoxyriboside was not observed, but in the absence of acyl protection, both anomerization and furanosyl --> pyranosyl ring expansion occurred. In oligodeoxynucleotides, two equilibrating FAPY species, separable by HPLC, are assigned as anomers. The form normally present in duplex DNA is the mutagenic species. It has previously been assigned as the beta anomer by NMR (Mao, H.; Deng, Z. W.; Wang, F.; Harris, T. M.; Stone, M. P. Biochemistry 1998, 37, 4374-4387). In single-stranded environments the dominant species is the beta anomer; it is a block to replication.